Ferry WWI soldier added to monument

MARTINS FERRY The name of one of the local heroes of World War II recently joined those of his brothers in service on the city World War II Memorial.

Anthony S. Bumbico’s name has been added to the engraved names.

According to his brother, Sam Bumbico, Anthony enlisted at age 19 before the United States entered into the war.

“He was on leave when the war started,” Sam recalled, noting his brother’s strong sense of patriotism. The brothers had been near-lifelong residents of Martins Ferry after moving from West Virginia.

He said his brother was a battalion staff sergeant in the Army when he was killed in 1944 at age 22. He had entered into service in 1941 and participated in liberating the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska from Japanese occupation. He was wounded in the Battle of Cold Mountain on Attu Island.

He recovered in Hawaii and was sent to the Philippines to participate in retaking Leyte Island, where he was fatally shot Nov. 17, 1944. He was a 17th Infantry Regiment, Seventh Infantry Division.

“He was pinned down by machine guns,” he said, adding that Tony played a key role in taking out the machine gun nest, but was shot by a sniper while returning to his men.

His body was laid to rest in the American cemetery in Manila, in the Philippines. He was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Tour of Duty and a Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster.

Sam added that during his service in the Navy as a chief petty officer, he did not have the opportunity to visit his brother’s gravesite.

Later, the family would receive his diary.

Years afterward, Sam’s son, also named Tony, observed his uncle’s name was not on the Martins Ferry monument. This was likely due to an oversight, since several other veterans with the Bumbico surname were included and Tony’s name could have been confused with another’s.

His research led him to the Army Personnel Center in St. Louis. It took some effort to gather all the available information.

“A lot of records were destroyed in a fire,” he said, noting that his research continued. He added that his uncle is briefly mentioned in “The Capture of Attu” by Dashiell Hammett, author of The Maltese Falcon.

Sam began bringing the matter before city officials. After speaking to numerous administrators and prior mayors, he began to see results. Council Member Robert Krajnyak took the lead in seeing Tony’s name placed on the monument. He contacted the country’s Veterans Administration and helped facilitate the process.

“Mr. Bumbico had all the paperwork from the government,” Krajnyak said. The American Legion Post 38 made a donation for the engraving and Randall Gallagher Monuments engraved the stone at a discount. The monument was unveiled during the city’s Veterans Day celebration.

“I got very emotional there,” Sam said, adding that he thanks all involved. He was present during the unveiling. “My son was named after him.”

“We’re very proud of what he accomplished and saddened at how he lost his life,” said Tony. “We appreciate the American Legion in Martins Ferry.”

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com